Effect of supplemental sericea lespedeza pellets on internal parasite infection and nutritional status of grazing goats.

Hamilton TN, Terrill TH, Kommuru DS, Rivers AJ, Mosjidis JA, Miller JE, Drake C,Mueller-Harvey I, Burke JM. 2017.

Effect of supplemental sericea lespedeza pellets on internal parasite infection and nutritional status of grazing goats. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology A 7:334-344. doi: 10.17265/2161-6256/2017.05.005

Abstract:

Feeding pelleted sericea lespedeza (SL; Lespedeza cuneata) on pasture can reduce gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) and coccidia (Eimeria spp.) infection in sheep and goats, but effects on nutritional status are unclear. Therefore, a study was completed comparing yearling goats grazing grass pasture supplemented with SL or non-condensed tannins (CT) commercial pellets (control group), respectively, at 1.5% of body weight for 14 weeks, and then after 14 weeks, they were only fed with non-CT pellets at 2.5% of body weight for additional six weeks. Animal body weight was measured at the start of the trial, the 7th week, 14th week and end of the trial. Fecal samples were taken weekly to determine GIN egg output (fecal egg count; FEC) and coccidial oocyst production (fecal oocyst count; FOC). Blood samples (to determine packed cell volume; PCV) were taken weekly to monitor anemia status of the goats, and on days 0, 98 and 137 to determine aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and creatine kinase (CK). The study revealed that supplemental SL leaf meal pellets had no effect on FEC, but reduced FOC (P < 0.05) and improved FAMACHA© scores (P < 0.001) in the goats, and the SL supplemented goats tended to gain more weight (P = 0.07) than control animals during the first 49 d, following initiation of pellet feeding. There were no treatment effects on enzymes related to liver function or muscle turnover (AST, ALT and CK), suggesting that there was no muscle damage due to long-term feeding of SL pellets. In conclusion, feeding supplemental SL pellets at 1.5% of body weight on pasture may be a viable strategy for improving health and productivity of yearling goats.